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2004 Texas State Geocaching Extravaganza

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2004 Texas State Geocaching Extravaganza


I wanted to start promoting this event. Brokenwing and I went last year and had a GREAT time! It is a weekend long event. Friday afternoon/evening arrival if you like, but all the events don't start until Saturday morning and run through Sunday afternoon. The location is the Sid Richardson Scout Camp on lake Bridgeport, just west of the town of Runaway Bay. There is no Geocaching.com listing yet, but the archived listing for the 2003 event can be seen here.


The Extravaganza is an orienteering meet that has been modified to include geocaching events. The meet is a joint venture between the Boy Scouts of the Longhorn Council and the North Texas Orienteering Association. There will be a competitive GPS course as well as 20 new caches with clues to an ultimate bonus cache with a (hopefully) nice first finder prize to be awarded at the closing ceremony. There are also 20 existing caches, plus last year's bonus cache still in place for your caching enjoyment.


Another event open to GPS users last year was the Night-O… a competitive orienteering course run at night, usually with a twist of some sort. I have offered to help whoever designs the Night-O modify it to offer a GPS class like last year. The theme last year was a Clue type game. There were ten control points, a map/clue/coord sheet, and a 90-minute time limit. At each control point (indicated by multiple strands of bright contractor flagging tape) there was a small cache box to be found containing a set of clues to help you eliminate scenes, weapons, and suspects. Some clues were duplicated such that you did not HAVE to find all the controls, but a bonus was scored by those who did, verified by punching each control's listing with a unique punch included in the cache box. This was a blast! Of course it helped that my team won the GPS-user class! Each first place team member was awarded a prize. Really cool…


Now about courses. Competitors come from the Scouts, the NTOA, ROTC and JRTOC groups, school groups, adventure teams and other orienteering groups, and, of course, geocachers! There are 6 different levels (white, yellow, orange, brown, green & red… in order of increasing difficulty) of orienteering courses (run with a map, a compass, and a limited cluesheet) divided into 6 classes based on gender and age plus one GPS-Only course. The GPS-Only course is considered to be comparable to a brown course… that is, 3-5km in straight-line length, a hard difficulty, and up 12 control points. It had no class divisions last year, and I would expect none this year unless a large enough and diverse enough registration is achieved. It is a two-day competition… two different courses are laid out for each course level. You run one course on SAT, the second on SUN, and your cumulative time is your score. Fastest times win.


A GPS-Only course is kinda like 3.5/3.5 timed multicache of micros. At the start line, competitors bring their score card (received at registration) for the appropriate day and are given a cluesheet. It will list the coordinates of the start line, main hall, and water stations for reference, plus the coordinates of the first "stage" or "control point". There will be 10-12 control point numbers on the sheet with 1-4 word clues and nothing else except the first control coords. Just like in geocaching, you navigate to the first stage and find the coords to the next stage. The only description or clues are those on the cluesheet. At some of the stages there will also be unique punches hidden with the coords, and you won't know which until you find them. You must punch the score card in the appropriate control's square. At the end of the race, you turn in your score card. To stay in the competition you must have stayed under the maximum 180 minute time and have all the correct punches in the right places (if you mispunch, mark it IMMEDIATELY). Orienteering courses generally have punches at each control for verification since they get a map that marks the location of each control when they start, and the upper level courses require the use of an "electronic punch"… a little gadget that you match to an electronic reader at the start and each location. Results are posted as times are calculated and score cards verified, so you'll be able to watch your standing throughout the day.


You can also choose to participate as a map-hiker… that is, you can get a copy of one of the lower difficulty course maps and hike it on your own schedule, just to see what it's like. You may wish you'd signed up for competition! Of course, you are very welcome to attend just for the cache hunting and maybe the Night-O and all the company. Last year there were a few clinics offered as well… several introduction to orienteering and related skills, a couple of intro to geocaching, and one or two more topics were offered like, cache containers & working with land managers.


Accommodations are available onsite as camping, dorm bunks, or a LIMITED number of cabins, and there are a couple of motels within a reasonable distance. Facilities for campers are toilets in the area and open air showers… there are stalls & hot water, but the building is not fully enclosed nor heated. Depending on what they open, the nearest toilets may be latrines, but there are flush toilets in some locations. Cabins and dorms have bathroom facilities inside, but I don't know details on specific facilities as I was a tent camper last year! Meals can be an on-your-own sort of thing or purchased with your registration. Purchased meals are quite simple and served buffet style. The site opens on Friday afternoon/evening and closes Sunday late afternoon after the awards ceremony.


Hopefully there will be an event cache listing up soon and Cliff (Wretsub) will find time to drop in here and offer more insight and details (like dollar amounts!) as they become available. I hope y'all will save this spot on your calendar and pick one or more of several ways to participate!

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March 26-28, 2004

Sid Richardson Ranch, Bridgeport, TX



We have a GC.com listing up now! There is also additional information at the Longhorn Council BSA website (see links below).


Costs for the activities at the event range from $5/day to $15/weekend depending on what you participate in. The Night-O is a free event. Meals are offered individually or as a weekend-long package price. They've been trying very hard to get more substantial meals than one would usually get at a Scout camping event. Camping accommodations are $5/weekend/person for those who are not members of a Longhorn Council Scout troop. More meal and lodging info, including additional lodging options, are available on the registration forms and the Longhorn Council BSA site. I hope y'all will save this spot on your calendar and pick one or more of several ways to become involved!

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Hi, folks! Just a reminder that the registration forms for competition events and meal packages must be received by the Boy Scouts by March 17th... that's just 2 days away!


Also, we have some news on the bonus cache first finder's prize! Though complete details are not yet final, it will at minimum include a battery charger package containing a rapid charger, 4 AA 2000mAh NiMH batteries, battery carrying cases, a battery tester, and both AC and DC adapter cords for home and auto charging! This is a package worth about $50. I've heard a rumor that more items may be added, but you can count on the battery package.


Hope y'all will make it!



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